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Q was born in Bodmin, Cornwall, son of a well-known physician and historian, Dr. Thomas Quiller Couch, and the grandson of the eminent naturalist, illustrator and physician, Dr. Jonathan Couch of Polperro, author of, the four volume series, “A History of the Fishes of the British Islands” (published between 1860 and 1865).

Initially, Q was educated at home, then at a dame school and then, subsequently, at Newton Abbot College, Clifton College and, finally, at Trinity College, Oxford where he subsequently, but briefly, lectured in Classics. After working as a contributor to a liberal leaning magazine “The Nation” (which merged with “The New Statesman” in 1931), he settled in Fowey in Cornwall, in 1891.



Q worked actively for the Liberal Party and was knighted in 1910 for his political work. Chairman of the Cornwall Education Committee for twenty years he claimed, quite rightly, to have had ‘no small influence in the establishment of twenty schools’. In 1928 he was made a Bard of the Gorseth Kernow and adopted the Bardic name Marghak Cough (“Red Knight”) on account of his red hair.

Equally at home on land and water, he was the Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club from 1911 until his death. A devoted family man, Q married Louisa Hicks and they had two children, Bevil Bryan Quiller-Couch, who tragically died of Spanish flu in 1919 and Foy Felicia Quiller-Couch OBE.

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